The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, September 24, 2019


British Museum launches first major exhibition of underwater archaeology
A museum assistant poses by a statue of Queen Arsinoe II at the Sunken cities: Egypt’s lost worlds exhibition at the British Museum in London on May 17, 2016. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP.


LONDON.- The British Museum is staging a major exhibition on two lost Egyptian cities and their recent rediscovery by archaeologists beneath the Mediterranean seabed. On view for an extended run of six months, The BP exhibition Sunken cities: Egypt’s lost worlds is the Museum’s first large-scale exhibition of underwater discoveries. It shows how the exploration of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus – submerged at the mouth of the River Nile for over a thousand years – is transforming our understanding of the relationship between ancient Egypt and the Greek world and the great importance of these ancient cities.

300 outstanding objects have been brought together for the exhibition including more than 200 spectacular finds excavated off the coast of Egypt near Alexandria between 1996 and 2012. Important loans from Egyptian museums rarely seen before outside Egypt (and the first such loans since the Egyptian revolution) are supplemented with objects from various sites across the Delta drawn from the British Museum’s collection; most notably from Naukratis – a sister harbour town to Thonis- Heracleion and the first Greek settlement in Egypt.

Likely founded during the 7th century BC, Thonis- Heracleion and Canopus were busy, cosmopolitan cities that once sat on adjacent islands at the edge of the fertile lands of the Egyptian Delta, intersected by canals. After Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt in 332BC, centuries of Greek (Ptolemaic) rule followed. The exhibition reveals how cross-cultural exchange and religion flourished, particularly the worship of the Egyptian god of the afterlife, Osiris.

By the 8th century AD, the sea had reclaimed the cities and they lay hidden several metres beneath the seabed, their location and condition unclear. Although well-known from Egyptian decrees and Greek mythology and historians, past attempts to locate them were either fruitless or very partial.

Thanks to the underwater setting, a vast number of objects of great archaeological significance have been astonishingly well preserved. Pristine monumental statues, fine metalware and gold jewellery reveal how Greece and Egypt interacted in the late first millennium BC. These artefacts offer a new insight into the quality and unique character of the art of this period and show how the Greek kings and queens who ruled Egypt for 300 years adopted and adapted Egyptian beliefs and rituals to legitimise their reign.

The exhibition features a number of extraordinary, monumental sculptures. A 5.4m granite statue of Hapy, a divine personification of the Nile’s flood, greets visitors as they enter the space. Masterpieces from Egyptian museums such as the Apis bull from the Serapeum in Alexandria are being shown alongside magnificent recent finds from the sea. One such piece is the stunning sculpture from Canopus representing Arsinoe II (the eldest daughter of Ptolemy I, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty). The Greco-Macedonian queen became a goddess beloved to both Egyptians and Greeks after her death and is depicted here as the perfect embodiment of Aphrodite, a goddess of beauty ‘who grants fortunate sailing’.

The exhibition also covers the arrival of Greeks in Egypt, when they were hosts and not rulers; privileged but controlled by the pharaohs. A complete stela from Thonis-Heracleion advertises a 380BC royal decree of the Egyptian pharaoh Nectanebo I. It states that 10% of the taxes collected on all goods imported from the ‘Sea of the Greeks’ into Thonis-Heracleion and on all trade operations at Naukratis were to be donated to an Egyptian temple.

A wide range of objects, from modest to grand and costly, bears witness to the piety of both inhabitants and visitors at these major religious centres. Lead models of barges uncovered in the sacred waterway linking Thonis-Heracleion to Canopus are unique and moving finds. They are associated with the Mysteries of Osiris, the most popular festival celebrated annually across Egypt during the month of Khoiak (mid-October to mid- November). Ranging in size from 6 to 67cm, these reproduce in metal a flotilla of 34 papyrus barges that would have been displayed on a waterway to celebrate the first sacred navigation of the festival. According to religious texts, each barge was to measure 67.5 cm and to bear the figure of an Egyptian god, and would have been illuminated by 365 lamps. The lead barges are lasting testimonies possibly left by people who, long ago, celebrated this festival in the Canopic region.

Only a tiny proportion of these sites have revealed their secrets. The on-going underwater archaeological mission continues to bring to light new masterpieces and further research every year as the most recent finds from 2012 show.






Today's News

May 21, 2016

British Museum launches first major exhibition of underwater archaeology

The Museum of Modern Art acquires 162 works of photography from the Collection of Robert B. Menschel

Eduardo F. Costantini's purchase of Diego Rivera painting sets a world record price for Latin American art

The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation is now exclusively represented by David Zwirner

Stolen Christopher Columbus letter returns to Italy

The Menil Collection appoints Rebecca Rabinow as new Director

US fossils reveal two new species of horned dinos

US center gifts atomic bomb images to Hiroshima museum

Six American independence war maps up for auction

Sotheby's to offer the collection of Robert Zellinger de Balkany

The Art Institute of Chicago reunites never-before-seen photographs and manuscripts

Johnny Ramone customized Hamer guitar sold for more than $55,000 at auction

Rare works by John Singer Sargent lead Sotheby's $27.1M American Art Auction in New York

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, FL receives $1 million challenge grant

Skinner Inc. names Regional Director for New York office

Gems, gold, meteorites and prehistoric treasures populate Nature & Science auction in Dallas

Next stop on Rome's new underground: Hadrian's barracks

Giant prehistoric bird fossils found in Antarctica

Swiss artist Not Vital exhibits at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Simon Denny's first solo presentation in Belgium opens at Wiels

3rd edition of CHOICES Collectors Weekend opens in Paris

Haus der Kunst exhibits works by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva

Artistic dissent alive in Russia despite crackdown

Tupac Shakur's 1996 American Motors Hummer sold for $337,144

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful